Kati Marton, author and journalist, has written a likeable book, Enemies Of The People: My Family’s Journey To America. It is likeable as the romance of Endre and Ilona Marton, Budapest residents during a very dark period. It is likeable as cold war history of Hungary. It is likeable as a spy thriller with an unusual twist. It is likeable as a family history rediscovered from the most evil of sources. It is likeable as a personal narrative of a woman who reconstructs her childhood. It is likeable as a story of the Americanization of a proud Hungarian family.
The Martons began life under the oppression of the dying Austro-Hungarian Empire, survived youthful resistance to the Nazis, only to find themselves raising a young family under the crushing control of Stalinism. They became the two goats among sheep as the last independent journalists behind the Iron Curtain until they were arrested and imprisoned. Their crimes were that they worked as correspondents for the Associated Press and United Press and they were friendly to the American Legation in Budapest as well as many other Westerners. Their two young daughters witnessed the arrest first of their father and then a short time later of their mother.
Despite the imprisonment and punishment the parents received following the failure of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 they survived to reunite their family. They were released only because the Hungarian government and their Soviet managers wanted the advantages of trade and travel with the West. They were finally expendable for a price.
The story continues during the years of Americanization for parents and children. Putting the whole story together was possible only because the files of the AVO, the Hungarian secret police, and the FBI files were turned over to the author. She found secrets aplenty but never shame or dishonor. She was most fortunate of daughters and researchers. Charles Marlin